A good start. The farmhouse at which he was billeted still exists. It’s a long three-storey building standing at right angles to the road on the outskirts of Fossalta. A driveway leads to a pair of mossy stone gate-posts, with no gate, which give onto a friendly overgrown garden. Over a door is a shield embossed with an eagle carrying off a lamb, the coat of arms of the Botter family, who have occupied the house continuously since 1711. It’s not difficult to imagine Hemingway, wheeling his bicycle out into the heat of a high summer afternoon, checking one last time that he has everything he needs for the men in the front line.
My bicycle is not quite the one Hemingway would have used, but not far off. It dates back to the 1920s and has been lovingly looked after by a local doctor. The road runs beside deep ditches with bare and spindly trees on either side, over a frozen canal lined with the shrivelled sinews of winter vines, through the forgettable streets of Fossalta and along the sunken road that runs below the embankment. I have to stand on the pedals to pull myself up to the top.
Choose another day from Hemingway Adventure
- Series: Hemingway Adventure
- Chapter: Fossalta
- Country/sea: Italy
- Place: Fossalta di Piave
- Book page no: 51
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